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Monday, September 12, 2022

| September 12, 2022

Monday Memo: “Like Sands Through the Hourglass…” Beginning today, a TV milestone. “Or is this ‘the canary in the coal mine?’” consultant Holland Cooke asks. Beginning today, after 57 years and 58 Emmy Awards on broadcast television, “The Days of Our Lives” will now be seen exclusively on NBC’s streaming platform Peacock. In this week’s column, HC notes how this trend is playing-out, and what it means to radio. Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Coupons. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column about the renewed interest in clipping coupons thanks to the current high prices of food and other consumer goods. Coupons were, and still can be a barometer for return on investment by marketers who use them; and they’ve been a thorn in the side of radio sellers from time to time, as well. Lapa has some suggestions for radio sellers running into competition from coupon marketers. Read it here.

Round Four of August PPMs Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s August 2022 sweep covered July 21 – August 17. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Waterloo Media Group’s news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin jumps a full share to finish the survey with a 4.2 share (weekly, 6+ AHQ share) that lifts it from the #11 rank to #7. Although rising by 1.4 shares for a 9.3 share finish, Radio One’s news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis remains in the #2 rank. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN continues to hold down the #1 rank after adding four-tenths for a 10.3 share finish, while Good Karma Brands’ crosstown news/talk WTMJ falls seven-tenths for an 8.9 share that keeps it ranked #2. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence tacks on eight-tenths for a 4.8 share finish but remains ranked #7 as iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WHJJ is up half a share for a 1.2 share that lifts it to the #15 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first three groups) here.

iHeartMedia Promotes Three to New Roles as Metro Presidents. The company announces the promotion of three current market presidents to the newly created roles of metro presidents. First, Columbus market president Kris Foley is now metro president for Columbus and Cleveland. Second, Charlotte market president Dave Carwile is now metro president for the Carolinas giving him oversight of Charlotte, Raleigh, Asheville, Greensboro, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina. And third, Cincinnati market president D.J. Hodge is now metro president for Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. All three executives report to Tom McConnell, division president for iHeartMedia Multi-Platform Group.

Audacy Names Terri Gunnell EVP of Advertising Technology, Products and Platforms. Advertising technology professional Terri Gunnell is named EVP of advertising technology, products and platforms for Audacy. She comes to the company from WarnerMedia where she was EVP, head of monetization and data platforms. In her new role with Audacy, she’ll lead the teams responsible for advertising technology, products and platforms for the company’s revenue organization, providing business-focused use cases and requirements for vendors and ad tech engineers to ensure that the platforms meet business needs. She’ll also lead the business transformation activities surrounding people, process and tech, partnering with peer leaders to ensure that organizational structure and business processes are optimized and successfully supported by the tech and data platforms. Audacy chief revenue officer Brian Benedik comments, “Terri’s extensive technical expertise, ability to administer and guide large budgets and staff, combined with her commitment to building collaborative teams, makes her a perfect candidate to take on this role. We look forward to her owning this rapidly growing portion of our business to help us best serve our clients, partners and consumers.”

iHeartMedia Promotes Uta Knablein to Chief Product Officer for iHeartRadio. The company promotes Uta Knablein from her executive vice president of iHeartRadio’s Flagship Products and User Experience role to chief product officer for iHeartRadio. iHeartMedia says of Knablein, “She brings a deep expertise in leading teams to create behavior-driven and data-informed products that drive audience growth, user engagement, increased loyalty and revenue.” iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group CEO Conal Byrne says, “At iHeartMedia, we’re committed to innovation and being on the forefront of this fast paced industry. Since joining the team, Uta has played a critical role in elevating the user experience through groundbreaking products and features. With her decades of experience and shared values, there is no doubt she is the right leader for our product team. As we look toward the future, we’re thrilled to have Uta’s depth of industry knowledge to keep us on the cutting edge.” Knablein steps into this role following former chief product officer Chris Williams’ 17-year tenure at iHeartMedia.

Legendary Talk Show Host Steve Kass Back in the Game. Retired talk radio personality Steve Kass has informed TALKERS that he is interested in getting back on the air as a fill-in host. Kass states, “There is so much going on right now in the nation and world, it is difficult to sit on the sidelines and not participate in what is clearly one of the most exciting and consequential chapters in news/talk broadcasting history. Today, with access to leading-edge remote technology, there is absolutely no reason not to get back in the game.” Kass is credited as having been one of the most successful voices heard on the airwaves in New England where he was a major player at both WPRO and WHJJ in Providence between 1984 and 2005 – many of those years as a dominant morning host. Kass hung up his headphones in 2005 to accept the position of communications director in the administration of Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri. During his last year on the air, Kass was named the Associated Press “Talk Show Host of the Year” and in 2010 he was inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame. Kass tells TALKERS, “No job is too big or too small” and that he can be available on very short notice. Steve Kass can be reached by phone at 401-663-9776 or emailed at stevegkass@gmail.com.

TALKERS News Notes. Former Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Larry Elder is considering a run for president, he tells The Daily Wire. In an interview, Elder says what brought him to run against California Governor Gavin Newsom in last year’s recall election. “[A] number of people approached me as you know, to encourage me to run for governor of California. And little by little I felt that I had a moral and spiritual and a patriotic obligation to do it.” He adds, “I didn’t think I would like politics. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I was surprised at how good I was at it. And in about seven and a half weeks which is when I got into the race, with only that much time left. I raised around $22 million —  more than all of the major rivals combined.”…..Los Angeles talk radio station KBLA “Talk 1580” is presenting an election forum tonight (9/12) with incumbent Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and challenger and former Long Beach Chief of Police Robert Luna. This is the first in the station’s Public Safety Forum series of events. It’s being streamed on the station’s website, YouTube and Facebook and will be broadcast on KBLA later. It’s being moderated by station owner Tavis Smiley with radio hosts Dominique DiPrima, Angela Reddock-Wright and Nii Quartelai Quartey…..Good Karma Brands’ ESPN Wisconsin launches the Tundra Trio Radio Network, which is airing Green Bay Packers content across sports talk WKTI-FM, “94.5 ESPN” and news/talk WTMJ in Milwaukee and WTLX-FM, Madison “100.5 ESPN.” The newest Good Karma Brands radio network got its name from its Tundra Trio properties, two houses adjacent to Lambeau Field where private tailgates are hosted prior to each home game. Kicking off every Packers game day at the Tundra Trio houses are former Packer Gary Ellerson and WTMJ personality Greg Matzek. Following each game, host Gabe Neitzel and Steve “The Homer” True, alongside Packers Hall-of-Famer Mark Tauscher, will team up for the “Pack Attack Postgame.”

Trump vs DOJ, Ukraine Recaptures Territory, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, King Charles III Crowned, Fentanyl Crisis, NFL Season Opens, and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The legal battle between former President Donald Trump and the Department of Justice over documents Trump was keeping at his Mar-a-Lago residence; Ukraine forces recapture territory from Russia and concerns over the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant; the November midterms elections and speculation about the nominees in the 2024 presidential race; Charles III is crowned King of Great Britain; the growing rate of fentanyl being shipped across the U.S.-Mexico border; the NFL opens its 103rd season; and the wildfires in the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

August 2022 PPM Ratings Takeaways – Part Four

| September 11, 2022

August 2022 PPM Data – Information for the August 2022 survey period has been released for Austin; Raleigh; Indianapolis; Milwaukee; Nashville; Providence; Norfolk; Jacksonville; West Palm Beach; Greensboro; Memphis; and Hartford.

Nielsen Audio’s August 2022 sweep covered July 21 – August 17.

TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian provides “Takeaways” for spoken-word stations finishing in their respective markets’ top twenty.

Cited as well are each particular city’s #1 station (6+) and loftiest (6+) upticks and drop-offs.

All comparisons noted are July 2022 – August 2022 (6+).

AUSTIN

News/Talk: Waterloo Media Group-owned KLBJ-AM “News Radio” 3.2 – 4.2, +1.0, #11 to #7

News: None in the top twenty

Sports Talk: Genuine Austin Radio’s KTXX “The Horn” 1.5 – 1.4, -.1, #20 to #19

Public Radio News/Talk: University of Texas-owned KUT 5.8 – 6.7, +.9, fourth to second

Number One 6+: Sinclair Telecable adult hits KBPA, eighth month in a row, 10.1 – 10.0, -.1

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Increase: news/talk KLBJ-AM (+1.0)

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Decrease: CHR KHFI (-1.4)

RALEIGH

News/Talk: iHeartMedia’s WTKK “106.1 FM Talk” 8.0 – 7.3, -.7, anchored in third-place

Curtis Media Group-owned WPTF “News Radio 680” 1.8 – 1.9, +.1, #15 to #14

News: None in the top twenty

Sports Talk: Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM “99.9 FM The Fan” 1.2 – 1.3, +.1, repeats at #18

Public Radio News/Talk: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill-owned WUNC 8.1 – 7.4, -.7, continues in the runner-up slot

Number One 6+: Capitol Broadcasting adult contemporary WRAL, sixth successive month 10.2 – 8.7, -1.5

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Increase: classic rock WRDU (+1.3)

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Decrease: adult contemporary WRAL (-1.5)

INDIANAPOLIS

News/Talk: Radio One’s WIBC “93.1 FM Indy’s Mobile News” 7.9 – 9.3, +1.4, anchored in the runner-up slot

News: iHeartMedia’s WOLT-HD2 “Business News 97.5” flat at .1, #21 to #19

Sports Talk: Radio One-owned WIBC-HD2 “The Fan” steady at 2.4, #14 to #13

iHeartMedia’s WNDE “Fox Sports 1260” unchanged at .3, #20 to #18

Cumulus Media’s WNDE “CBS Sports 1430” .1, #19 (did not appear in the previous four sweeps)

Public Radio News/Talk: Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Broadcasting-owned WFYI flat at 4.2, continues in ninth-place

Number One 6+: Cumulus Media classic hits-oldies WJJK, eighth successive month, 11.4 – 11.3, -.1

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Increase: country WFMS (+1.7)*

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Decrease: country WLHK (-1.4)

*Represents the largest July 2022 – August 2022 increase (6+) of any station from these 12 PPM-markets

MILWAUKEE

News/Talk: iHeartMedia’s WISN “News Talk 1130” 9.9 – 10.3, +.4, first

Good Karma Brands-owned WTMJ “Wisconsin’s Radio Station” (Brewers) 9.6 – 8.9, -.7, repeats in the runner-up slot

News: None in the top twenty

Sports Talk: iHeartMedia’s WRNW “97.3 The Game” .9 – 1.1, +.2, #15 to #16

Good Karma Brands-owned WKTI “ESPN Milwaukee” flat at .9, #15 to #18

Public Radio News/Talk: University of Wisconsin-owned WUWM 4.4 – 4.0, -.4, stays in ninth-place

Number One 6+: news/talk WISN, second straight month, 9.9 – 10.3, +.4

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Increase: classic rock WKLH (+.9)

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Decrease: urban AC WJMR (-.8)

NASHVILLE

News/Talk: Cumulus Media’s WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” 6.2 – 5.8, -.4, sixth to seventh

iHeartMedia-owned WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” 2.5 – 2.7, +.2, #13 to #14

News: None in the top twenty

Sports Talk: Cumulus Media’s WGFX “104.5 The Zone” 2.1 – 3.5, +1.4, #15 to #13

Cromwell Radio Group-owned WPRT “102.5 The Game” .8 – .9, +.1, repeats at #20

Public Radio News/Talk: Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN-FM 5.1 – 5.2, +.1, ninth to eighth

Number One 6+: Midwest Communications adult hits WCJK, eighth month in a row, 10.4 – 9.6, -.8

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Increase: sports talk WGFX (+1.4)

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Decrease: country WSIX (-1.1)

PROVIDENCE

News/Talk: Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM & WEAN “News Talk 630 AM & 99.7 FM” 4.0 – 4.8, +.8, continues in seventh-place

iHeartMedia-owned WHJJ “News Radio 920” .7 – 1.2, +.5, #16 to #15

News: None in the top twenty

Sports Talk: Beasley Media Group-owned WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” 2.8 – 3.5, +.7, tenth to eighth

WVEI “Sports Radio 103.7” 3.7 – 3.4, -.3, eighth to ninth

Cumulus Media’s WPRV “790 The Score” flat at .2, #20 to #19

Public Radio News/Talk: WGBH Educational Foundation-owned WGBH 3.2 – 3.4, +.2, repeats in ninth-place

Rhode Island Public Radio’s WNPN 2.5 – 2.2, -.3, stays at #11

Number One 6+: iHeartMedia rock WHJY, seventh straight month, 10.0 – 10.2, +.2

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Increase: news/talk WPRO-AM (+.8)

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Decrease: adult contemporary WWLI (-.9)

NORFOLK

News/Talk: Sinclair’s WNIS “News Talk AM 790” 3.4 – 3.8, +.4, #10 to #11

News: None in the top twenty

Sports Talk: Max Broadcast Group’s WVSP “94.1 ESPN” 1.6 – 1.5, -.1, #18 to #17

Sinclair’s WTAR “Sports Radio 850” .4 – .6, +.2, remains at #20

Public Radio News/Talk: None in the top twenty

Number One 6+: Audacy urban AC WVKL, eighth month in succession, steady at 9.7

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Increase: country WUSH (+1.4)

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Decrease: jazz WHOV (-1.1)

JACKSONVILLE

News/Talk: Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM “104.5 Jacksonville’s News & Talk” 8.1 – 7.9 -.2, third to fourth

News: None in the top twenty

Sports Talk: Cox Media Group-owned WOKV-AM “ESPN Jacksonville 690 AM” flat at .5, repeats at #20

Public Radio News/Talk: WJCT, Inc.’s WJCT 2.8 – 2.3, -.5, #11 to #12

Number One 6+: iHeartMedia country WQIK, second consecutive month, steady at 10.2

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Increase:  urban contemporary WJBT (+1.4)

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Decrease: country WGNE (-1.2)

WEST PALM BEACH

News/Talk: iHeartMedia’s WJNO “News Radio 1290” 1.7 – 1.8, +.1, #11 to #9 and cluster-mate WZZR “92.1 Real Radio” 2.1 – 1.8 -.3, tenth to ninth

Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WFTL “News Talk 850” 3.4 – 1.1, -2.3, #7 to #13

News: None in the top twenty

Sports Talk: Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WMEN “Fox Sports 640 AM South Florida” steady at .4, repeats at #17

Public Radio News/Talk: Dade County School Board’s WLRN 2.4 – 3.3, +.9, eighth to seventh

Number One 6+: Hubbard Broadcasting hot AC WRMF, eighth month in succession, 9.7 – 8.8, -.9

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Increase: public radio news/talk WLRN (+.9)

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Decrease: news/talk WFTL (-2.3)**

**Represents the largest July 2022 – August 2022 decrease (6+) of any station from these 12 PPM-markets

GREENSBORO

News/Talk: iHeartMedia’s WPTI “News Talk 94.5” 5.8 – 5.1, -.7, repeats in eighth-place

News: None in the top twenty

Sports Talk: None in the top twenty

Public Radio News/Talk: Wake Forest University’s WFDD 2.2 – 2.6, +.4, continues at #12

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill-owned WUNC 1.6 – 1.7, +.1, remains at #14

Number One 6+: Audacy urban AC WQMG, eighth month in a row, 10.2 – 10.3, +.1

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Increase: country WPAW (+1.2)

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Decrease: news/talk WPTI (-.7)

MEMPHIS

News/Talk: iHeartMedia’s WREC “News Talk 600 AM” 4.0 – 3.9, -.1, eighth to ninth

Cumulus Media-owned WKIM “News/Talk 98.9, The Roar of Memphis” .7 – .9, +.2, repeats at #19

News: None in the top twenty

Sports Talk: Audacy’s WMFS “Sports Radio 92.9” 3.1 – 3.0, -.1, #11 to #12 and WMFS’ internet stream .5 – .7, +.2, locked at #20

Public Radio News/Talk: Mid-South Public Communications-owned WKNO 1.5 – 1.8, +.3, stays at #17

Number One 6+: Cumulus Media urban-rhythmic oldies WRBO, eighth successive month, 12.5 – 12.8, +.3

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Increase: gospel WHAL (+1.5)

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Decrease: urban AC KJMS (-1.3)

HARTFORD

News/Talk: Audacy’s WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” 4.9 – 4.6, -.3, anchored in eighth-place

Red Wolf Broadcasting-owned WDRC-AM “The Talk of Connecticut” .4 – .8, +.4, #19 to #15

Audacy-owned WTIC-AM’s internet stream .6 – .2, -.4, #17 to #20

News: None in the top twenty

Sports Talk: iHeartMedia’s WUCS “97.9 ESPN” .7 – .6, -.1, #16 to #18

Public Radio News/Talk: Connecticut Educational Communications-owned WNPR 7.9 – 8.8, +.9, fourth to second

New England Public Media’s WFCR .2 – .4, +.2, #20 to #19

Number One 6+: Audacy adult contemporary WRCH, 30th month in a row, 11.0 – 11.1, +.1

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Increase: public radio news/talk WNPR (+.9)

Largest 6+ July 2022 – August 2022 Decrease: hot AC WTIC-FM (-.7)

Email Mike Kinosian at Mike.Kinosian@gmail.com.  

Friday, August 7, 2020

| August 7, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “Each Passing Tik of the Clok!” looks back at this past week of August 3-7, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkPat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Howard Monroe, talk show host / station owner, WVLY, Wheeling, WV; Levi Browde, executive director, Falun Dafa Information Center; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Salem Media Group Q2 Revenue Down 18.3%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2020, Salem Media Group says revenue for the quarter was $52.9 million, a decrease of 18.3% compared to the same period in 2019. Operating expenses decreased 9% during the quarter to $53.8 million from $59.1 million. After posting operating income of $5.6 million in Q2 of 2019, Salem reports an operating loss of $0.9 million. Breaking down the report by segment, net broadcast revenue decreased 19.6% to $39.5 million from $49.1 million; Station Operating Income (“SOI”) decreased 43.9% to $6.4 million from $11.4 million; and Same Station net broadcast revenue decreased 17.4% to $38.7 million from $46.9 million; and Same Station SOI decreased 43.9% to $6.5 million from $11.6 million. Salem’s digital media revenue decreased 5.2% to $9.4 million from $10.0 million; and digital media operating income decreased 22.6% to $1.8 million from $2.3 million. Publishing revenue was down 29.8% to $4 million from $5.6 million; and publishing operating loss increased to $1.6 million from $0.1 million.

Entercom’s Q2 2020 Revenue Decreases 54%. The second quarter 2020 financial report from Entercom reveals net revenue was $175.9 million, a decrease of 54% from the $380.7 million reported in Q2 of 2019. Spot revenue declined 65% on a year-over-year basis while digital revenue rose 19%. Entercom reports that reflecting its cost management initiatives implemented to address the pandemic and lower levels of advertising spending, station expenses for the quarter declined 32% to $188.9 million, compared to $277.9 million in the second quarter of 2019 while corporate expenses for the quarter declined 45% to $8.4 million, compared to $15.2 million in the second quarter of 2019. The company reported operating income of $64.8 million in Q2 of 2019, but this year reported an operating loss of $45.3 million (that included a non-cash impairment charge of $4.2 million). Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was a loss of $20 million, compared to income of $87.6 million in the second quarter of 2019. Entercom president and CEO David J. Field says, “While Entercom generated significant revenue and EBITDA growth prior to the pandemic, second quarter results reflect the impact of the national economic challenges that quickly emerged as many advertisers closed businesses and significantly reduced their ad spend. Given our national leadership position in sports, second quarter top-line results were also significantly impacted by the cancellation of virtually all scheduled sporting events during the quarter. Excluding the impact of cancelled sports play-by-play, second quarter revenues declined 47%. However, after bottoming out in April, we have achieved significant sequential improvement every month through the summer with third quarter business on books already 30% greater than where the second quarter finished. The pandemic challenges accelerated our on-going transformation initiatives with a heightened focus on enhancing our business model, accelerating our growth opportunities, more fully integrating our powerful product offerings, and improving our service to both listeners and customers. In this regard, we implemented a range of company-wide initiatives, which lowered second quarter total cash operating expense by approximately $97 million, which exceeded our budget. In addition, we secured our strong liquidity position through an amendment to our credit facility and ended the second quarter with $208 million of cash, up from $189 million at the end of March. Looking ahead, as the country’s #1 creator of original, premium audio content with robust data, analytics and attribution capabilities, scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every segment of the dynamic and growing audio market, including broadcasting, podcasting, digital, events, network, sports and news, Entercom is strategically well-positioned for future growth and performance. Improving revenue trends combined with enhancements to our business model and active management of our balance sheet will enable Entercom to emerge as an even stronger company and build meaningful shareholder value. I want to thank our team for their resilience, dedication, and exceptional work as they have gone above and beyond to serve our listeners, advertisers and communities under the most challenging of circumstances over the past several months.”

Round Four of July PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Austin, Waterloo Media Group’s news/talk KLBJ-AM tacks on two-tenths for a 5.7 share and the #3 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM, Raleigh rises from the #6 rank to #3 after adding six-tenths and finishing the survey with a 6.8 share. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis inches up one-tenth to a 7.5 share, good for the #4 rank. In Milwaukee, Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ holds steady at a 5.5 share but rises one spot to the #5 rank while iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN dips four-tenths to a 6.8 share and the #4 rank. Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville adds two-tenths to wrap the survey with a 4.8 share good for the #9 rank. In Jacksonville, Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM continues in the #2 rank after dipping four-tenths and finishing with a 9.5 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

NAB’s Gordon Smith Averted Stroke. The report of NAB CEO Gordon Smith’s stroke yesterday (8/6) was premature, according to Smith himself. He issued a public statement that clarifies the original press release from the NAB and thanks people for the outpouring of support he’s received. He says, “Your prayers and kind words have meant the world to me and my family. I am delighted to tell you that after a very extensive MRI last night it was discovered that I did have a blood clot, but thanks to the quick medical intervention I received, an actual stroke was averted.”

Cumulus Media Announces New Employment Agreement with Exec Suzanne Grimes. A new employment agreement between Cumulus Media and Suzanne Grimes has been filed with the SEC. Grimes will continue to serve as executive vice president of corporate marketing for Cumulus and president of Westwood One. The pact runs through December 2022 and includes provisions for automatic one-year extensions. Grimes’ base salary is $650,000 and she’s eligible for performance-based bonuses.

Shaffer Adds APD Duties at ‘104.5 The Zone’ in Nashville. WGFX-FM, Nashville
“104.5 The Zone” morning show producer Jonathan Shaffer adds assistant program director duties to his responsibilities. Cumulus Media says the 14-year Nashville radio pro will continue in his role as morning show producer for the sports talk station. Station PD Paul Mason says, “Jonathan has demonstrated that he is ready for this challenge. He’s earned this opportunity and I look forward to working with him as we move forward toward reaching our goals at ‘104.5 The Zone.’” Shaffer comments, “I am proud and honored to be part of such a talented, committed team at ‘104.5 The Zone’. I am very excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to contributing to The Zone’s continued success.”

iHeartMedia Names Tias Schuster SVP of Programming for West New York. Programming pro Tias Schuster moves from iHeartMedia’s Norfolk, Virginia operations where he was SVP of programming and PD for two of its music brands, to West New York to serve as SVP of programming for Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton. In this new role, Schuster will oversee more than 19 stations in the Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton markets. He’ll report to iHeartMedia West New York president Robert Morgan. Schuster says, “It is great to be back with my iHeartRadio family in Upstate New York. I’m honored to work alongside the legendary personalities and management in these markets! I want to give a special thanks to iHeartMedia for the opportunity.”

WIP, Philadelphia’s Howard Eskin ‘Walks to Tampa’ for Charity. Philadelphia sports media figure Howard Eskin is almost three-quarters of the way to Tampa (figuratively speaking) as he continues his PDQ Signature Systems-sponsored, two-month charitable effort. “Howard Walks to Tampa” has the “SportsRadio 94WIP” air personality walking the virtual 1,103-mile distance between the Philadelphia Eagles’ home base of Lincoln Financial Field and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the location of Super Bowl LV, to raise money for fighting local hunger and animal welfare. Money raised from Eskin’s daily walks, which will run through September 13 prior to the start of the Eagles 2020 season, will benefit Philabundance, Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, and the Brandywine Valley SPCA, a nationally recognized leader in progressive and lifesaving initiatives in animal welfare. Eskin says, “It’s been a tough time in our country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without any games or practices to attend, I needed an escape. So, I started walking. It’s been great for my physical and mental health and raising money for two great charities like Philabundance and Brandywine Valley SPCA makes it even better.” To date, Eskin has walked 736 miles with only 367 miles to go before September 13 and has raised more than $10,000 for Philabundance and Brandywine Valley SPCA.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a documentary about the rise and fall of former WFAN, New York sports talk personality Craig Carton set to be released on October 7 from HBO Sports and StreetSmartVideo titled, “Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth.” According to a story in the Rockland/Westchester Journal, the film will include Carton talking about his story in his own words. Carton was released early from his three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for fraud in June and is finishing his sentence in home confinement. HBO Sports VP Peter Nelson says, “Craig Carton’s radio persona gained him a public following, while his private struggles lost him everything one casino run at a time. Many knew Carton, but never knew his secrets, as we learn from Carton himself in this documentary about success, self-destruction, lies and blackjack.”…..According to a report in Dmagazine, a documentary film about the life and career of Dallas sports talk radio legend Mike Rhyner is being produced. Dallas media pro Crystal Vasquez – who met the now-retired KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas personality while filling in as a traffic reporter on Rhyner’s “The Hardline” program – is heading up the documentary project. Vasquez tells Dmagazine, “It’s not a documentary on ‘The Ticket.’ That’s his identity to a certain extent, but it’s a story about Mike’s life.”…..The “Bubba the Love Sponge” program adds a new affiliate station in 1TV.Com Inc.’s classic rock KBSZ-AM/K247CF, Apache Junction, Arizona “97.3 The Rattler.”…..Entercom’s all-news 1010 WINS, New York is inviting listeners to a wedding on Sunday! The station reports, “Ashley Isaacs, who works at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and her fiancé Israel Reches (both pictured at left) will reunite for the first time in months at their own wedding after spending time apart due to the pandemic and Reches’ health. As Isaacs was working to save patients with COVID-19 this past spring, Reches was battling stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, forcing the couple to separate. With Reches in remission just in time for the big day, the two are set to marry on Sunday, August 9 in a small backyard ceremony, and 1010 WINS listeners are ‘invited’ to the festivities. The station will be onsite the day of the wedding, airing audio of the ceremony on air and streaming it in its entirety via Facebook Live.”

WWJ News Radio 950 in Detroit Starts ‘Breaking Down the Barriers’ Initiative. Detroit all-news WWJ “News Radio 950” unveils its two-part community programming initiative called “Breaking Down the Barriers” dedicated to celebrating the diversity of the city and its surrounding suburbs. The initiative includes two segments, “Voices of the Community” and “Black Business Minute,” both beginning August 10. “Voices of the Community” is hosted by WWJ traffic operations manager Lloyd Jackson and will profile community leaders, activists, and residents who are making a difference in their neighborhoods and throughout Detroit. “Black Business Minute” is hosted by WWJ city beat reporter Vickie Thomas and highlights local businesses in which Black business owners will discuss their companies, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are contributing to the success of Detroit. It will air five times daily each weekday. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “The diverse citizens of Detroit are an integral part of the fabric of this great city and we’re proud to use our platform to champion their stories. There are countless cases of business owners and leaders helping residents get through this crisis, and we look forward to employing this series as another way to shine the spotlight on them.”

95.5 WSB ‘Care-a-Thon’ Raises $1.5 Million for Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. This year’s 95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon two-day radio event was the 20th annual produced by the Cox Media Group news/talk station and helped raise more than $1.5 million for research and programs at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This year, due to COVID-19, Scott Slade, Clark Howard, Eric Von Haessler, Mark Arum, Erick Erickson, Brian Kilmeade and many other local radio personalities participated in the 95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon by interviewing patients and their families virtually via video and phone calls. The team encouraged listeners to donate and purchase one-of-a-kind experiences throughout the special radio broadcast. WSB director of branding and programming Drew Anderssen says, “Our entire team is so thankful for the phenomenal support we have received from our loyal listeners who continue to give to the Care-a-Thon, and all of our community service efforts at 95.5 WSB, year after year. This year’s fundraiser is one we’ll never forget because of the incredible financial strain coronavirus presented to our community of donors. I’m tremendously proud of the teams at 95.5 WSB and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for their work adapting this year’s effort to become ‘virtual’ as a result of the pandemic.”

The Presidential Race, Politics and the Vote-By-Mail Debate Top News/Talk Stories for Week of August 3-7. The November presidential election, politics, and the controversy over President Trump’s allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Tied at #2 this week was the interview with President Trump by Axios reporter Jonathan Swan and Deutsch Bank being subpoenaed by the New York Attorney General in a Trump Organization investigation. Coming in at #3 was the debate over opening schools, followed by health care, medications and the mask debate at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Beasley Media Group announces the cancellation of WKML-FM, Fayetteville, North Carolina’s 2020 Stars & Guitars concert. Beasley VP/GM Kent Dunn says, “Thank you to our amazing sponsor and fans throughout the years for supporting Stars & Guitars event. These are unprecedented times. The safety of our community, staff, and country artists is our number one priority. As a result, we have made the decision to cancel this year’s event. We’ll be back bigger and better than ever in 2021!” To help fill in the gap, WKML-FM has hosted a series of special Stars & Guitars at Home social media concert experiences with some of the top artists in country music on the station’s website as well as entertained listeners with the station’s special Superstar Mini Concert series.

Monday, July 13, 2020

| July 13, 2020

Pending Business: What Would Maslow Do? Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that motivation – a stop on Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs – is something that can be challenging in times like these.  But, he says, “We are in a motivation transition that can solve the long-term need to stay in the game and give you the control to move the performance bar as high as you need it.” Read his piece here.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Fall Schools Opening Debate, Portland Protests, Presidential Race, Trump Commutes Roger Stone Sentence, Violent Crime Surge, Washington Redskins to Change Name Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The soaring number of COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and projections for future infections; the debate over re-opening schools in the fall; the violent BLM protests taking place in Portland, Oregon; the November presidential election, plans for a Florida Republican National Convention, and Joe Biden’s polling numbers; President Trump commutes the sentence of former “fixer” Roger Stone; the surge in violent crime statistics in a number of American cities; and the NFL’s Washington Redskins announce they will change the team’s nickname were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday Memo: Broadcasters, Podcasting? Radio was late to this party and is scrambling to follow listeners to the digital platform. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke describes an opportunity in broadcasters’ dilemma. Read it here.

New Hampshire Talk Host’s Relationship with WSMN-AM, Nashua Ends After Video Post Goes Viral. New Hampshire talk host Dianna Ploss is no longer hosting her program on Bartis-Russell Broadcasting’s WSMN-AM, Nashua, New Hampshire after posting a video of herself verbally assaulting a landscaping crew with racist language for speaking Spanish while doing their jobs. The station carries a lot of brokered programming and it’s believed that Ploss also brokered her program. Apparently, Ploss became incensed when she heard a white crew leader speaking Spanish to his staff. After the video went viral, the radio station severed ties with her and posted the following on its website. “Dianna Ploss is no longer associated or affiliated in any way with WSMN or Bartis-Russell Broadcasting, LLC. We at WSMN value freedom of speech, freedom of expression and assembly. We will not tolerate discrimination, racism or hatred. We continue to present and offer on air opportunities for discussion, education and the exchange of opinions and ideas.”

Round Four of June PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at station performances in his “Ratings Takeaways” for this group of markets. Regarding the news/talk format, Waterloo Media Group’s KLBJ-AM, Austin stays in the #3 rank in the market after repeating the 5.5 share it posted in May. iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh sheds four-tenths, finishing the June survey with a 6.2 share good for the #6 rank. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis drops 1.5 shares to a 7.4 share and falls back to the #5 rank. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN falls to #2 after losing 1.2 shares and posting a 7.2 share. Across town, Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ drops six-tenths for a 5.5 share finish good for the #6 rank. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville falls to the #2 rank after losing a half share and finishing the June survey with a 9.9 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” report here.

It’s Official: SiriusXM to Acquire Stitcher from E.W. Scripps for $325 Million. Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that a deal between E.W. Scripps and SiriusXM for the latter to acquire the podcast platform Stitcher was imminent. Now, Scripps announces that deal is done and it’s getting $325 million for the unit that includes: the Midroll advertising rep firm; owned-and-operated podcast networks including the comedy-focused Earwolf; and the Stitcher podcast listening platform. The press release states, “Scripps was an early entrant into podcasting, acquiring Midroll in 2015 for $55 million and the Stitcher app in 2016 for $4.5 million. Since then, Stitcher has been a leader in the fast-growing podcast industry, growing revenue at a compound annual growth rate of 52% from 2016-19. Stitcher’s 2019 revenue was $72.5 million.” The deal includes $265 million of cash upfront; earnout of up to $30 million based on 2020 financial results and paid in 2021; and earnout of up to $30 million based on 2021 financial results and paid in 2022. It is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

Cumulus Media Cuts 3% of Workforce. Atlanta-based Cumulus Media has permanently removed 3% of its staffers from the payroll. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that 94 staffers have been affected by the move. The company put the cuts into effect the same day it announced to affiliate stations that the Westwood One News service would be shut down at the end of August due to the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the radio industry.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a tweet by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mike Golic will remain with ESPN after ESPN Radio’s “Golic & Wingo” program ends on July 31. Schefter says Golic will work for the sports giant as a college football analyst – a position he held for 10 years before launching the “Mike & Mike” morning radio show with Mike Greenberg. The status of Golic’s co-host Trey Wingo – whose contract with ESPN is ending – is still unknown at this time…..Bonneville Denver announces that it is hiring Nate Jackson to serve as an air personality on sports talk KKFN-FM “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” The station says Jackson will be heard across all of the station’s programs as a contributor and fill-in host, in addition to contributing digital content to 1043TheFan.com. KKFN program director Raj Sharan says, “Nate is a fascinating person with an incredible perspective on sports and life based on his experiences. While he’s obviously a talented writer, Nate also has a very entertaining and warm personality that we look forward to developing as one of our on-air talents.”

Atlanta’s Black-Targeted Radio Stations to Unite for Voter Registration Effort. This initiative involves Black-targeted radio stations in Atlanta owned by Cox Media Group (WALR “KISS 104.1”; Entercom (WVEE “V103” and WAOK-AM “1380 News/Talk); Radio One (WAMJ/WUMJ “Majic,” WHTA “Hot 107.9,” and WPZE “Praise 102.5”) and Core Radio Group (WWSZ) teaming up “with the common goals of voter registration, voter education, and voter mobilization in advance of the November 2020 election.” The goal of “Black Radio United For The Vote” is to register black voters across metro Atlanta, and to get them to the polls in the coming election on November 3, as well as encouraging them to participate in the 2020 Census. Black Radio United For The Vote is partnering with the Urban League of Greater Atlanta and its affiliates to make these goals a reality. Each month through September, beginning on July 23, the participating radio stations will dedicate a full day of on-air programming to educate, inform and inspire Atlanta’s black community to register to vote, check their current registration status, and participate in the 2020 Census.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports the death of former Windy City radio executive and station group owner Seth Mason. He passed away on Saturday (7/11) after a battle with pancreatic cancer at age 71. Mason was the general manager for legendary rock outlet WXRT in the 1970s and was managing WSCR for Infinity when the company debuted the sports format on WSCR at its original dial position at 1160 AM. Mason retired from radio management and ownership in 1998…..Programming pro Laura Lee is named interim program director for Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting’s alternative WWCD-FM, Columbus “CD102.5.” Lee will also host the midday program, taking over for Rachael Gordon, who recently resigned from the station. Lee was most recently program director and afternoon host at alternative WRMR, Wilmington, North Carolina “Modern Rock 98.7.”

Judge Puts Three Ed Stolz Stations into Receivership; Larry Patrick to Sell Them. The result of a 2016 complaint against Ed Stolz’s Royce International Broadcasting Group by Warner Music Group and other music companies alleging KREV, San Francisco; KFRH, Las Vegas; and KRCK, Palm Springs played music for which it did not have the rights, was a $1.2 million award for the plaintiffs in the copyright infringement portion of the complaint. Stolz appealed that decision, to no avail, and later agreed to sell the stations to pay the award. However, after it appeared to the plaintiffs that Stolz was not really trying to sell the stations, they asked the court to appoint a receiver to sell the stations in order to receive their award. The court agreed and moved to put the stations into receivership to force the matter. Larry Patrick of media brokerage firm Patrick Communications – who is charged with operating the stations and selling them – estimates that the three stations are worth a somewhat less than half of the jury’s $1.2 million award.

Friday, June 12, 2020

| June 12, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted.  The new episode titled “The Revolution is Being Televised!” looks back at this past week of June 8-12, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, 77WABC, New York; Sean Spicer, talk show host, NewsmaxTVLee Habeeb, producer / host, Our American Stories; Colin Cowherd, talk show host, FOX Sports Radio-Television; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode,  please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Round Four of May PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets and notes that a number of the news/talk stations whose weekly, 6+ AQH shares had risen dramatically in March and April because of listeners’ desire for news and information about the coronavirus pandemic started to fall during the May survey. Waterloo Media Group’s KLBJ-AM, Austin lost nine-tenths to finish May with a 5.5 share and the #3 rank in the market. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis “Indy’s Mobile News 93.1” relinquishes 1.4 shares to wrap the month with an 8.9 share and the #3 rank. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM remains in the #1 spot even after dropping seven-tenths to finish with an 8.6 share. Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville loses only one-tenth but drops to the #7 rank on the strength of a 5.3 share. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville loses three full shares but still finished the May sweep with a 10.4 share, good for the #2 rank in the market. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Kimberly & Beck Apologize for Racist Language. In a self-produced video, the former classic rock WAIO, Rochester morning show duo of Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck apologized for the language they used on their radio show that caused iHeartMedia to fire them on June 3. WROC-TV, Rochester has the story with a link to the video. You may recall that during a discussion about two local shop owners who were beaten by a group of black youths as they tried to protect their business during the violence and looting that evolved out of the George Floyd protests, Ray didn’t use the “N-word” but suggested the young men were acting “N-word-y.” In the video, the two offer their apology. Ray says, “We owe it to our listeners and to our amazing community to speak out. Both Beck and I have spent the last several days engaging in soulful reflection. We said hurtful, offensive things, but we are not racist. We do not have hate in our heart. We have only love for everyone.” Beck says, “We apologize, not to get our jobs back, but to say we are truly sorry and want to sincerely apologize. We will not attempt to make any excuses or explain what we said, because it was wrong, it was ignorant and inexcusable.” Ray adds, “We want our listeners and clients to know we are sorry. We let you down. We’re sorry we let Rochester down. Moving forward we want to grow, learn, and change from this experience. Our apology is sincere, and we wish we could turn back time.” Beck closes saying, “But we can’t. Once again, we have no hate in our heart, and we apologize. Thank you.”

Radio America to Syndicate Tony Katz’s ‘Eat! Drink! Smoke!’ Indianapolis-based talk radio personality Tony Katz’s new weekend radio program “Eat! Drink! Smoke!” is going into national syndication via Radio America, beginning the weekend of June 27-28. Radio America will also distribute and sell the podcast. Radio America says, “The two-hour weekly program combines good times and good friends, stepping away from the madness of each week with reviews of fine cigars, excellent bourbon, and interesting food. Hosted by award-winning radio host, writer, and regular cable news presence Tony Katz with a wide array of guests sharing their thoughts with humor and expertise.” Katz says, “Being able to bring ‘Eat! Drink! Smoke!’ to cities across the country is just sensational. We’re not trying to be the final word on cigars and bourbon; we’re sharing the word. Distillers are artists, and so are the cigar rollers and master blenders in the US and around the world.” Katz hosts “Tony Katz and the Morning News” on Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis and the syndicated Tony Katz show that airs live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm CT. Radio America COO Mike Paradiso says, “Tony is a phenomenal talent that knows how to connect with listeners and advertisers. Stations are going to love his knowledge of cigars and bourbon along with his conversational and humorous style.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a piece in the Los Angeles Times, some ViacomCBS employees are demanding that the company end its relationship with streaming channel aggregator Pluto TV because it partners with The First which streams the “Bill O’Reilly No Spin News” program and they say O’Reilly has “a well-documented history of making racist comments, denying the existence of systemic racism, undermining the efforts of Black protesters and insulting Black public figures.” ViacomCBS doesn’t plan to make any immediate changes, telling the Times, “Pluto TV, by design, is a service that makes available a wide variety of channels programmed by third parties, and we think it is critical to represent a diversity of viewpoints, even those we disagree with.”.…..The National Association of Broadcasters announces the results of its Executive Committee Board of Directors. David Santrella, president of broadcast media, Salem Media Group, was re-elected Radio Board chair and Emily Barr, president and chief executive officer, Graham Media Group, was re-elected as NAB Television Board chair. Bill Wilson, chief executive officer of Townsquare Media, Inc., was elected as Radio Board first vice chair and John Zimmer, president and owner of Zimmer Radio of Mid-Missouri, Inc., was elected second vice chair. Alfred Liggins, chief executive officer, Urban One, Inc., was elected to the Radio Board’s major group representative seat on the NAB Board’s Executive Committee. The board elections took place at the NAB Board of Directors meeting, held virtually on June 9…..In the Joplin, Missouri market, Michael Day Landis-owned sports talk outlet WMBH “FOX Sports Joplin” moves the “Mic’d Up” show from Saturdays to weekdays, airing from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. KSNF-TV, Joplin reports the show, hosted by Matt Miller, Mello, and Austin Cunningham will cover everything from “Mizzou football to KU basketball… emphasize sports around the Four States while also providing coverage of the NFL and other professional leagues.”

Black Lives Matter Movement and Police De-Funding Top News/Talk Stories for Week of June 8-12. The protests organized by and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and calls from protestors to de-fund police departments in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., health care concerns, and coronavirus statistics and projections. Coming in at #3 was the state of the U.S. economy – now officially in a recession – and the stock market activity, followed by the opening of America, sports leagues news, and the status of public events at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes widely acclaimed New York Times best-selling conservative author David Horowitz available to discuss his new book BLITZ: Trump Will Smash the Left and WIN (Humanix Books, 2020). There’s also an expert on how to generate lost revenue due to COVID-19 via online marketing, an author who writes about Islamic matters, and an expert on finance who puts the race-oriented protests, demonstrations, and riots into perspective from an economic standpoint – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The News-Gazette reports on the exit of morning personality Steve Holstein from Saga Communications’ country WIXY, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. He’d been host of the “Holstein and Company Morning Show” for 24 years and was recently let go for financial reasons. Holstein tells the paper, “These are tough economic times, and media is not an easy field to be in at all. The pandemic has certainly not helped anyone, especially media. That was their decision, and I accept it. I’m grateful for 24 years.”…..iHeartMedia Providence’s rock WHJY is celebrating the 30th anniversary of “The Paul and Al Morning Show” with a special broadcast on July 15. The station says, “On-air veterans Paul and Al joined 94 HJY in the summer of 1990 and have been familiar, trusted voices to listeners around the Providence area ever since. Thirty years after its debut, ‘The Paul and Al Morning Show’ remains a top-rated morning show and ranks second in Rhode Island radio history for all-time in longevity for a morning show on the same station, playing a considerable role in the success of the station. Throughout their career, Paul and Al have been recognized for their on-air presence and were inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame in 2008.” Station program director Doug Palmieri says, “I remember the day Paul and Al signed on as the new morning show hosts at 94 HJY, replacing iconic morning talent Carolyn Fox. They hit the ground running and never looked back, becoming a Southern New England institution. I’ve been lucky enough to work with them over much of their 30 years on 94 HJY and their humor, generosity, and dedication to listeners are truly inspiring. Thirty years in one place performing at the highest level in this industry ain’t no joke, and these guys are the best in the business.”…..Entercom’s adult contemporary KEZK-FM, St. Louis adds Premiere NetworksDelilah for evenings beginning on Monday (6/15)…..Police in Baltimore are investigating the death of jazz WEAA, Baltimore air personality Tyra Phillips, a.k.a. Tyra Phillips Womack, who was shot to death outside her home in northeast Baltimore on Wednesday evening (6/10). WJZ-TV, Baltimore reports the 57-year-old host of the Sunday afternoon show “Gospel Grace Afternoon” died after being shot several times during an argument. Police report having identified a person of interest.